I can remember building my first bird house when I was a kid, and excitedly attaching it to the side of a tree in my backyard. For months afterwards I would peek in at the bird house, but there were never any birds in it. I bought this house as a kit, so I was sure it was the correct dimensions and had the proper sized hole. Needless to say, I was very disappointed, and confused as to why no birds were inhabiting the house.
Looking into the tree that the bird house was mounted to, I could see a bird nest far up in the tree, nestled in the crook of a branch. Why would a bird make a exposed nest high up in the tree, instead of in my covered bird house, with a roof over their heads? Well, now that I’m older and wiser, I know my mistakes.
First, the nest I was looking at up in that tree was a cup nest. Birds who build cup nests don’t raise their young inside a cavity-style nest (like a bird house). Second, my bird house was set at eye level. That is, the eye-level of a small kid, about four feet off the ground. Most birds won’t live in a nest quite so low. Third, it was located near a gate which led into and out of the backyard, and my friends and I went in and out of that gate plenty of times almost everyday, so its no wonder birds tended to stay away from that area. Fourth, this was a tree next to our house, with a narrow space, maybe six feet wide, in between. The bird house faced our house. This didn’t give the birds much of a clear flight path to their house.
So here’s what I learned:
1. Build an appropriate bird house for the type of bird you want to attract.
2. Place the bird house at the appropriate height.
3. The bird house should be located in a low-traffic area.
4. Keep a clear flight path to the house.
While I might have had more success following some of the general guidelines for placement of the bird house and avoiding the pitfalls mentioned above, I still might not have received any feathered tenants. As I’ve learned, each species of bird has specific criteria that a bird house must meet, including proper placement of the house, if they are to select one in which to raise their young.
My first mistake, therefore, was not knowing what kind of bird the house was for. It is possible the birds the house was designed for didn’t even live in the area! Assuming I had known the bird species the house was for, I should have done some research to determine the best placement of the house. I might have found that I didn’t have any adequate locations to place the bird house, or I might have found a location that would be far more enticing to the birds.
Learn from my mistakes. Do your homework and, while there is never any guarantee that bird family will make its home in your bird house, you can increase the likelihood considerably.
By jje10tw from Pixabay